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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1811-1896) to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01585 Author/Creator: Stowe, Harriet Beecher (1811-1896) Place Written: Brunswick, Maine Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 March 1852 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: On its first day of publication in 1852, Stowe sends a copy [not present] of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" to Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. Slavery had been abolished throughout the British Empire in 1833, and Stowe holds Britain up as a model for Americans. Written mostly in the third person. Stowe had consulted Horace Mann several days before writing this letter, asking for his advice as to how best to contact Prince Albert and other British noteworthies. Evidently, Mann's advice had proved useful: Despite the "republican simplicity" of this letter to the Royal Consort, Prince Albert responded with a courteous note of thanks. (See GLC01587 for a letter written by Queen Victoria in which she mentions Stowe and "Uncle Tom's Cabin.") Harriet and her husband Calvin would meet the royal couple four years later in Scotland. "[W]e had just the very pleasantest little interview with the Queen that ever was." Calvin Stowe would write. "The Queen seemed really delighted to see my wife, and remarkably glad to see me for her sake. She pointed us out to Prince Albert, who made two most gracious bows to my wife and two to me, while the four royal children stared their big blue eyes almost out looking at the little authoress of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'" (Calvin Stowe, 29 August 1856).

People: Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 1811-1896.
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, 1819-1861.

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Keywords/Subjects: African American History, Literature and Language Arts, Women's History, Slavery, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Global History and US Foreign Policy, Abolition, Reform Movement

Sub Era: Slavery & Anti-slavery